Please Quit Your Day Job Contestants identify thinkers and leaders based on descriptions of their early careers, like when Christine Baranski worked at a mayonnaise plant. We're kidding! (Or are we?)
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Please Quit Your Day Job

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Please Quit Your Day Job

Please Quit Your Day Job

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JONATHAN COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(CHEERING)

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Hey, everybody. Welcome, everybody. Look at this. This is great. Welcome to ASK ME ANOTHER, the show that is bar trivia for people cleaning their bathroom.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This is exciting. We have a great show for you. We have four brilliant contestants. They're backstage right now, worrying about something they said to a co-worker three weeks ago. But soon, they'll be up here to play some nerdy games with us, and one of them will become our big winner. And we have an amazing special guest - comedian Aparna Nancherla is going to be here.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: Aparna actually came up in the Washington, D.C., improv scene, which I believe is the only place in Washington, D.C., where you'll hear the words yes, and...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I'm going to be talking to her about her career and her comedy. One of the things I love about her comedy is - I mean, it's smart, and it's wry. But also, she talks openly about her depression and anxiety in a very thoughtful and hilarious way. Anxiety and depression are interesting topics to talk about onstage. But I feel, at this point of the year right now in New York, I can no longer tell if I'm depressed or if it's just the lack of light.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: But luckily, I live in New York, so I'll never know.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I'll never know. I actually think New York City - I always think, like, why people come here. They're, like, what do you love the most about New York City? Do you have tourists come here, and they're, like, what do you love about being here?

COULTON: Yeah (laughter), sure.

EISENBERG: And what do you tell them?

COULTON: Sometimes, it's hard to come up with anything.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Because, you know, either the convenience - like, there's so many great things...

COULTON: Yeah, convenience - right, right, right, right...

EISENBERG: But you're used to it.

COULTON: ...The Broadway shows, the museums.

EISENBERG: The Broadway...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Which...

COULTON: I'm constantly going to museums and Broadway shows...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Right.

COULTON: ...Every day.

EISENBERG: As a resident of New York, I wake up in the morning. I hit two Broadway shows...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Spend a night at the museum...

COULTON: Get a bacon, egg and cheese.

EISENBERG: Bacon, egg and cheese from a hilarious character.

COULTON: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I think it is one of the No. 1 cities in the world to cry in public. It is...

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: Right? It is wonderful to cry. No one bothers you when you cry in public here. No one's, like, how are you doing? Are you OK? No. No. You are finally left alone to experience New York in any way you choose. I like crying - my favorite place to cry is actually on the subway because - right, because I am on an emotional journey, and I'm going somewhere, so...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You know, it's like multitasking. I'm getting a lot of things done. And I like crying on the ACE line. The ACE line is my favorite line to cry. Yeah - the blue line. It's the saddest line.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Later in the show, we're actually going to be playing a game about phone numbers. That almost sounds antiquated - phone numbers.

COULTON: Isn't that charming?

EISENBERG: And, you know, with the way you get spam calls now, there is a - certain different ways they try to trick you. Like, how about the ones where it kind of looks like your phone number?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Do you guys get those? That is the weirdest psychology. Like, you might be, like, I'm calling me?

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: I wonder what I would say? I don't pick those up, either. I'm, like, I don't want to talk to her.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All I do is try to figure out how to get her to shut up.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right, everybody. Let's play some games.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: Our first two contestants will play a game about jobs. You know what they say - all work and no play makes Jack a freelancer.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: First up, Adrienne Clermont (ph). You're a med student at Cornell.

ADRIENNE CLERMONT: Yes, that's right.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: Yes, very - that's inspiring specifically to me because you said you took off about 10 years and then decided to go back to med school. How are you enjoying the actual workload?

CLERMONT: So something that a lot of people might not know is that the preclinical part, the classroom part of med school is actually all pass/fail. So we say P equals M.D.

(LAUGHTER)

CLERMONT: Which I'm sure everyone finds very reassuring.

EISENBERG: Yes, that's very frightening.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: It's very, very frightening. All right. Adrienne, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Nicole Lindenbaum (ph). You work in marketing for a software company, and you love Hallmark movies.

NICOLE LINDENBAUM: I do. I really do.

EISENBERG: OK. A specific genre or them on - as a whole?

LINDENBAUM: Yeah. Well, so I love them as a whole.

EISENBERG: Yes.

LINDENBAUM: But there is a specific genre that my best friend and I have labeled business Christmas, which is about...

(LAUGHTER)

LINDENBAUM: It is about the high-powered businesswoman living in a big city who somehow ends up in a small town, falls in love with the local handyman and realizes that Christmas is more important than business.

(LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Nicole, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Adrienne and Nicole, whoever has more points after two games will go on to our Final Round. So this trivia game is called Please Quit Your Day Job. Jonathan and I will tell you about early careers of famous thinkers, and you're going to ring in and tell us who we are describing. All right. Here we go. How many former telegraph operators does it take to screw in a commercial incandescent light bulb? Ask this guy because he invented them.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Adrienne.

CLERMONT: Thomas Edison.

EISENBERG: That is correct.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: This 1911 Nobel-winning chemist was no free radical. First, she worked as a tutor to send her older sister to medical school. Then she got to pursue her interest in radioactive elements.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Adrienne.

CLERMONT: Marie Curie.

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: By night, she's Selena Montgomery, author of romantic thrillers. By day, she's the Georgia politician who delivered the Democratic response to the State of the Union.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Nicole.

LINDENBAUM: Stacey Abrams.

COULTON: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Here's a plot summary for her actual book called "Hidden Sins." Wild-child Mara Reed is on the run from two murderous thugs, and she goes into hiding in her small Texas hometown. There, an unexpected savior comes to her aid - Dr. Ethan Stuart, a hunky anthropologist...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Whose heart Mara once broke and betrayed. And he's the only man she's truly ever loved.

LINDENBAUM: Well, that's a Hallmark movie for sure.

COULTON: Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: This mathematician got his start in a patent office and went on to come up with a theory of relativity, which helps explain why time slows down the closer you get to marrying your cousin.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Nicole.

LINDENBAUM: Albert Einstein.

EISENBERG: That is true. Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Before supporting the U.S. government as its first female secretary of state, this diplomat advocated for a different kind of support - bras. She sold them in her local department store as her first paying job.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Nicole.

LINDENBAUM: Madeleine Albright.

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This is your last clue. This man had a summer job scooping ice cream at a Baskin Robbins in Honolulu. He went from 31 flavors to 44th president.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Adrienne.

LINDENBAUM: Barack Obama.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: All right. Great game. We have a tie right now, so...

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: See what happens in our next game.

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